January has been a good month for Israeli filmmakers. Less than a week after Joseph Cedar’s Footnote was named as a contender for the Oscars, the Sundance Film Festival 2012 proclaimed Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s The Law in These Parts the Best Foreign Documentary and honored Emad Burnat with the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award for his film, 5 Broken Cameras.
“This is the hardest film I’ve made,” Alexandrowicz said at the awards ceremony. “This is an amazing moment for me as a filmmaker, but it’s a film about a painful and unresolved subject.”
The Law in These Parts, which also won the Best Documentary award at the 2011 Jerusalem Film Festival, explores the legal infrastructure of the IDF and the implications of the 1967 borders. It combines interviews with senior legal experts as well as former Israel Defense Forces officials in charge of the army’s judicial system in the West Bank.
The directing award in the world cinema category went to 5 Broken Cameras, a joint Palestinian, Israeli and French production.
5 Broken Cameras was named for the cameras that broke while shooting this documentary about the separation barrier being built in a Palestinian village.
“I can’t believe I’m standing here,” said Burnat. “This film was a gift from the beginning. It was a gift for me to go to this village building where I spent many years.”
Israel had two other contenders at the prestigious independent movies competition: Barbie Blues and Gypsy Davy.